Teacher uses Kobe Bryant's 'Dear Basketball' as classroom lesson

Bryant wrote "Dear Basketball" as a love letter to the sport.

Kobe Bryant is inspiring young kids even after his death Sunday in a tragic helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

An elementary and middle school teacher in Atlanta used Bryant's "Dear Basketball" poem as a classroom assignment and a lesson on perseverance.

Michael Bonner said he could tell on Monday that his fourth and sixth grade students at Ron Clark Academy needed to talk about the sudden loss of the NBA legend.

"You could see it in their eyes and children don’t really know how to communicate hurt and pain in the clearest of ways so I thought let’s reverse engineer it," Bonner told "Good Morning America." "The first thing I told them was that it's okay to be sad, that adults in the building are sad, but how can we take those feelings and convert them into something positive, into something that will keep pushing us forward."

Bonner asked his students to annotate Bryant's "Dear Basketball" poem, which the basketball star published in 2015, one year before he retired from the Los Angeles Lakers after two decades with the team.

Bryant turned the poem, a heartfelt love letter to basketball, into an animated short film for which he won an Oscar in 2018.

Bonner wanted his students to see through Bryant's own words that "every successful person has to fight, has to find a way to persevere."

"You could see them taking the time to dive in and see what did he mean? What was his struggle?," Bonner said of his students. "Why Kobe's legacy resonated with so many of us was because he was obsessed with getting better."

"I wanted to use that piece from his life with my students," Bonner said.

The teacher then had his students write their worst fears down on paper, ball up the paper and throw their fears into the trash can one at a time.

Each student had to yell "Kobe" as they took their shot.

"The idea of throwing their fears away, they really connected with it," Bonner said. "We all have struggles and fears but if we can push them aside and move forward, which is the 'Mamba mentality,' then we can make progress."

"That is what education is about, giving them some type of experience to make sure they can take it with them for the rest of their lives," he said.

Bonner's assignment in honor of Bryant, whose sudden death shocked the world, inspired other teachers to apply the lessons of Bryant and his "Mamba mentality," in the classroom.

"I am 100% going to use this in my classroom. This is beautiful," one commenter wrote on Twitter, along with two hearts in Lakers' purple and yellow.

"Love this! Going to borrow this idea for my class tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!" wrote another teacher.

"My students loved this activity ... did it today at Morning Meeting," wrote another.

Bryant, 41, was the father of four daughters: Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months old.

He and Gianna were on their way to a basketball game at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, Sunday morning when their helicopter crashed on a hillside in Calabasas. The Bryants, six other passengers -- including two of Gianna's teammates -- and the helicopter pilot were all killed in the crash.